I had the distinct privilege to go behind closed doors with Quantic Dream’s next title, Beyond: Two Souls, on the first official day of the convention. As many probably already know, Quantic was the development studio behind Heavy Rain. In a lot of ways, Beyond brings up memories of Heavy Rain, from the quick-time event action sequences to the heavy emphasis on story and character. Basically, Beyond is a title right in the wheelhouse of Quantic Dream, a studio that prides themselves on creating interactive drama experiences.
The main character in Beyond is a girl named Jodie, played by actress Ellen Page – in looks, voice and mannerisms (see the image above for proof). The story of Beyond takes place over 15 years, starting with Jodie as a six-year-old child and progressing into her early adulthood. The twist to Beyond, however, is that Jodie has supernatural abilities courtesy of her spirit friend named Iden. Control in Beyond flips between Jodie and Iden depending on the circumstance presented to the player, but Quantic Dream’s David Cage made sure to point out that players can’t switch at will.
The moments where you’re in direct control of Jodie definitely hearken back to the feel of Heavy Rain. During my hands-off demo, I was told that the player is in complete control of Jodie’s movements at all times, with the additional QTE button prompts merely supplementing gameplay. This is in contrast to how action sequences in Heavy Rain were handled, where all of them felt like extended quick-time events. The criticism Quantic Dream received from Heavy Rain was enough to change things up for Beyond. As David Cage stressed, Beyond’s action sequences are not a “ride.”
Where things get a little bit more interesting is when the player is given control of Iden. As a spirit, you can freely pass through objects, manipulate things in the game world and even possess certain NPCs to help Jodie progress forward. I saw multiple instances where Iden possessed a few cops to create distractions so Jodie could sneak by undetected…